Do you sometimes feel as though money is just running through your fingers? That there will never be enough to have any left? That you are just barely making ends meet?
If you are newly divorced, and trying to set up a new household, and especially if you have young children in the house, it can seem that there’s no end to “must haves” and “needs” and “should dos” and of course “wants.”
The good news is that you can save in so many ways, and each savings will add up more than you could believe possible. It’s hard to get into the right frame of mind. You don’t want to feel like a penny pincher. Think of yourself instead as a savvy consumer.
So, NO MORE...
Letting the water run
Did you know that every minute water flows down the drain wastes up to 2.5 gallons, according to the Environmental Protection Agency? So turn off the water while brushing your teeth or shaving. Only run the dishwasher & washing machine when you have full loads, water plants in the morning when the water is less likely to evaporate, and give the car a bucket wash saving the hose for a quick rinse. Do all this and you could save up to $190 a year or almost 40 percent off the average U.S. household water bill of $476.
Driving like a maniac
Drive the speed limit, go easy on the brakes, and carpool when you can. Oh, and use EZ Pass, Sun Pass, and other toll tags. And what about gas mileage? The more moderate your speed, and the less you rev the engine, the less gas you are going to use. This could save you $4 to $40 a month depending on how much you drive.
Paying online shipping fees
Online retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Circuit City and others offer free shipping for orders over $25. Pool your purchases! Or use sites like shopzilla.com or shop.com where you can compare shipping and handling and search for “free shipping offers.” This cane save you $5 to $20 an order.
Not using your gift cards
Almost a third of gift cards go unused. And more get used … too late. If you read the fine print on the back of the card, you may be shocked to see that some cards expire as quickly as six months after their purchase. Others charge $1 to $2.50 for dormancy, maintenance, or inactivity fees if they’re not used within 6 to 24 months. Solution: Shop and save the face value of your card! No more.
Paying extra plane fees or eating out on vacations
So far the airlines haven’t begun charging for toilet paper, but it seems like they charge for everything else – food, blankets, even luggage. Solution: Pack snacks, plan ahead, and travel light. This can save you $2 to $35 a trip. At your destination, if you’ve gone for a hotel room with a kitchenette, a family of four can save $70 or more a day on food while on vacation.
Paying minimum monthly payment on credit cards and paying annual fees
Credit cards aren’t free money. On a typical card, you will end up doubling the price you pay if you make just the minimum payments. The average American has $9,000 in credit card debt and pays $1,000 a year in interest! Solution: try to pay at least double the required monthly payment and save $10 to $20 (or more!) a month. Also, unless you charge a lot (and hopefully you don’t) most people can do just fine with a no-fee, cash-back credit card. Go to bankrate.com to see the latest no-fee credit card offerings. This can save you $60 a year or more.
Paying for credit reports
The government enables everyone to get his or her credit reports (that’s report not credit score) for free one time a year from each of the three big credit bureaus. Don’t be tricked into buying your credit report from a look-alike site. Go to annualcreditreport.com and save $30.
Paying bills by snail mail
The average household gets 15 bills a month. At 42 cents a stamp that’s $70 bucks a year. See if your bank offers free online bill pay. The savings: $70 a year or more.
Paying ATM fees
It may not seem like a lot, but most out-of-network banks charge $1.50 to $3.00 for a bank withdrawal. Would you like to take out money and only get 97 percent of what you asked for? That’s what you get if you take out $100. Plan ahead and go to your bank’s ATM. You could save as much as $30 a year.
Having a low insurance deductible
The point of insurance is to protect you when something really bad happens, not for small claims. Raise that deductible on your car or homeowner insurance and save $200 to $300 a year.
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